A dear friend of mine just lost her brother unexpectedly. I remember a time when I wouldn't have been able to relate to this, but in the past (almost) three years I've come to know the weight of grief, how it gnaws at your thoughts and your stomach simeltaneously, how it strikes when you're least expecting, and how you never truly get over it. The world wants us to cope. Just pretend nothing is wrong for as long as you can, and then do whatever you need to to "deal" with the pain.
As believers we have an option so much better than coping. We can hope. We understand a little bit about the grace of God. We know that His hand is in this. He's orchestrated the whole event, for reasons we can't understand, to ends we can't understand. We find hope in the assurance of salvation, the promise of Heaven - a land infinitely better than anything we can imagine, and in knowing that death is not the end.
It seems like almost instantly after my mom went Home I panicked over what our relationship would be in Heaven. I was terrified (this sounds horrible, but understand the state I was in) that when we arrive in Heaven we're so captivated by Jesus that we don't care about who's around us. I followed this line of reasoning to the determination that if this is true, then essentially I would never see my mom again. That, although we would be sharing the same Home, we wouldn't be interested in each other. This was a thought I couldn't bear. So, I began my research. I pulled out my heavy concordance and searched the Scriptures for references to Heaven. I read parts of Randy Alcorn's book, Heaven. One of my mom's friends had sent it to her a few weeks before she passed. And I found comfort. Scripture does point to relationships in Heaven. Yes, we will be captivated by Jesus, naturally, but it is a citizenship. A world that will work similar to ours, but perfected. Looking at the garden of Eden, the world the way God intended, a world without sin, there was communion between God and man and communion between man and man. My biggest fear has been alleviated by studying God's Word, and the works of men who follow Him.
Another thing I came to realize was that my mom's death was not about me. I wandered for a time thinking, "Why did I have to lose my mom?" It took me a longer amount of time that I would like to admit to recognize that this wasn't done to punish me or something of that sort. Yes, as a bi-product I was affected completely. And I don't mean to say that God didn't/doesn't intend to teach me through it, but ultimately God took my mom because it was time for her to join Him. She'd suffered so much for so long. I've only really learned how extreme her suffering was in the past few years. God was ready to take her pain away. To give her a new body, whole and beautiful, not crippled and broken. She'd spent her life trying to help people know and love God, and it was time for her to have her reward.
I don't know if this makes sense, or if anyone will read it, but this is what I've been thinking about the past few days. Pray for my friend and her family, that they will have comfort and know the Lord in a new way through this. I'll leave you with this:
1 Corinthians 15-
50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”55 “O death, where is your victory?O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.